Skip to main content

Full text of "Spectaculer Times Buffo"

See other formats


also available from Spectacular Times: 

Pocketbook Series 

No. 7 - Women & the Spectacle (by Carol Ehrlich) 

35p 

No. 8 - The Spectacle - A Skeleton Key 40p 

No. 9 - The Spectacle - Another Skeleton Key.40p 

All prices are post free from Spectacular Times, 
Box 99, Freedom Press, 84b, Whitechapel High 
Street, London, El 7QX. or from most radical 
bookshops in the U.K. 

In Australia : Jura Books, 417, King Street, 
Newtown, NSW 2042. 

In Norway : A/S Jaap, Hjelmsgt ,3 , Oslo, 3. 

In the Netherlands : Boekhandel Slagerzicht, 
Folkingestraat 10, 9711 JW Groningen. 


T56RA/j 


3 


g>pectatular Ctmejs 



A Short Anthology of Political Pranks 
and Anarchic Buffoonery 


Spectacular Ctmcjs 

LONDON 1982 



The teen magazine, 
Loving ran a 
'brides' edition 
which included a 
special offer of 
a song called 
"Cur Wedding" by 
a group called 
"Joy de Vivre"© 
However, when 
readers played the 
record they found 
it to be a track 
from an album by 
the anarchist punk 
group CRASS. 

Loving described 
the album as a 
"sneering attack 
on love and 
marriage". 

The News of the 
World said the 
title was "too 
obscene to print" o 


FABULOUS RECORD 
OFFER 


PW* 

loving s 

v r\C\ • 






\ pours- for the price of a stamp! 


Yes. folks, we've got together with Creative 
Recording and Sound Services to offer you 
the chance of making your wedding day 
lust that bit extra special, with th s roman 
tic song. Our Wedding, by Joy De Vivre. 
There's no limit to this great write in. so 
all you have to do is simply fill in the 
coupon below and send it off. together 


with stamps to the value of 18 pence and 
this super flexi single will be yours 

Joy De Vivre has captured all the hap- 
piness and romance of that all important 
big day your wedding - so make sure 
you send off fur your copy in time for the 
grand occasion - it's a must for all true 
romantics 1 


Women's Voice. Jul/Aug.1981 


Posters for George Wallace, the ultra-right wing 
candidate in the U.S. Presidential elections, carried 
the words "In your heart you know he's right". 

The most common graffiti addition in the convenient 
space below these words was "But in your guts you 
know he's nuts". 


NO POPE HERE 

ViC.V-1 



Belfast graffiti 


Freeze ending 

The big freeze is turning to ! 
aurl end. A stow thaw is j 
expected to gain momentum ! 
in the next few days and 
temperatures wUI otimli to 7C I 
over the weekend. 


Up and Ap 

RAF sea rch-and -rescue Reli- 
r opters have flown 187 merry 
missions since the blizzards and 

fn e/.c up began. 


Child-saver 

The (internment announced 
\ e-tei'd-iy it would give a 
i t.xi.ddo grant to the NSIVC 
user the next three > ears — 
to save children's lives. 


‘Keep off 

The Uoverninewt yesterday 
Mocked takeover bids for the 
Royal Bank of Scotland by both 
the Hongkong and. Shanghai 
Ranking Corporation and the 
Standard Chartered Bank. 


Plane ‘iced up’ 

A saw ice enisled on 

the airliner which cradled in 
Washington on Wednesday 
killing 78 people a U.S. 
investigator said yesterday. 


Inflation steady 

Britain's annual inflation rate 
remained at 12 per cent in 
December, the same as Novem- 
ber. according to the Retail 
Brice Index. 


Feathered find 

Mis Marie Tyler, of Sul I on 
( oldfield. who lost a gold ring 
six weeks ago, believes that 
one of the birds she feeds 
found it and put it on her 
back gar icn bird table. 

Everybody out 

\V inkers walked out on strike 
when Mrs Thatcher visited 
Kellogg s giant breakfast 
cereal plant at Trafford Park, 
Manchester yesterday. 


Rolling on 

Two high-rolling gamblers 
from vas Vegas were thought 
to l>e on their way to London 
after winning £20.000 at 
roulette in a Northampton 
ca-'ino. 


Page one of the January 16th issue of 
the Northern Echo (left) contained a 
message for the newspaper's new 
editor, Mr. John Pifer. 

Can you spot the hidden message? 


(below) For the professional touch - 
'Letraset' direct on to posters. 



KEEP BRITON T1W 




"The most effective way of attacking vice js 
to expose it to ridicule. People can put up 
with rebukes but they cannot bear being 
laughed at; they are prepared to be wicked 
but they dislike appearing ridiculous” 

Moli^re 


Simple Simon meets the Pieman 




Aron Kay of the Yippies - pieman extraordinary of North 
America - has a long list of ’hits* to his credit including 
William F.Buckley, Daniel Moynihan and Watergate 'buggers’ 
Anthony Llacewicz, E. Howard Hunt ana Cordon Liddy. The 
anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly responded, "At least he had the 
good taste to use apple instead of something that would have 
stained my outfit." 

Aron's protege on the west coast is Vancouver-based Frankie 
Lee of the Anarchist Party of Canada ( Grouch o-Marxist ) • His 
'hits' include the Canadian cabinet minister Marc Lalonde and 
brain experimenter Jose Delgado. Frankie specializes in 
personalized pies. He hit Delgado with a cow brain and tomato 
sauce concoction. Delgado asked, "Why me?". 

For his hit on revolutionist-turned- 
religionist Eldridge Cleaver 
(right) Frankie used an 
oreo cookie cream pie and 
explained "Because oreo 
cookies are black on the ! 

outside and white on the 

inside, just like Eldridge j 

Cleaver". Frankie struck j 

as Cleaver was addressing 
an audience of 1 , bOC at a 
'born - again' Christian 
"I Found It" rally in 
Vancouver. Some of 
Cleaver's Christian 
friends caught Frankie in 
the car park and beat him 
up. 

Religionists seem prone 
to violent reactions. 

Curu Kaharaji Ji was 
pied by Pat Halley - 
a staff member of the 
Detroit anarchist news- 
paper Fifth Estate . While 
the guru continued with 
his message of peace and 
love, Pat was severely 
beaten by the guru's 
followers and suffered a 
fractured skull. Eldridge finds it 



Other victims react by trying to re-write history. When the 
"Revolutionary Three Stooges Brigade" pied Donald Speyer of 
the Dayton Power and Light Company (I’Since DP&L are always 
trying to get a bigger slice of the pie, we thought we*d give 
them a whole one") he claimed he had never been pied. 
"Apparently", said the Brigade, "he always goes around with 
gooey globs splattered all over his face." 

When Roy Rogers was opening a new branch of his Roy Rogers 
Hamburger restaurant chain in Fairfax, Virginia, an unknown 
young man succeeded where thousands of bad guys in dozens of 
movies had failed before - he hit the 'King of the Cowboys' 
right between the eyes with a cream flan. 


And don’t forget the gay 
enthusiast in Minneapolis — 
their slogan is Kisses and 
Revolution — who got his hair 
cut at Moler’s barber college, 
fortified himself with a 
couple of Burger King whop- 
1 pers (in case they didn’t feed 
f him anything in jail), showed 
up at a $75-a-plate dinner for 
a local anti-gay Catholic ar- 
chbishop, had himself photo- 
graphed shaking hands with 
his quarry (we who are about 
to pie, salute you) and then 
achieved communion with 
the host — not with a wafer of 
unleavened bread, but with a 
69C chocolate cream pie from 
a local bakery. 


Gay rights activists 
have also felt the 
need to resort to 
the pie. (left) 

Tom Higgins struck 
with a cream pie 
when anti-gay cam- 
paigner Anita Bryant 
(right) called a 
press conference in 
Des Moines, Iowa 
to announce the 
creation of her 
"homosexual rehab- 
-ilitation centres". 

Although the Van- 
couver-based 



Anita Bryant gets her 
just dessert. 


Pastry Information 

and Entertainment group has declared November 4th-1 1 th as 
International Week of Pieing the practice has not become 
widespread in Europe. In 1979 Conservative K.P. Michael 
Heseltine was splattered as he finished a speech at Leeds 
University. David Frost, however, had to go to New York to 
get his pie. 


Reports & Photos 
from "Open Road" 
1 977 - 1980 


"Spectacular organization is completely out of 
its depth with this sort of thing. The Marx 
Brothers have shown what a role can become if 
you play with it. The only pity is that the 
Marx Brothers were stuck with the cinema. 

What would happen if a game with roles started 
in real life?" 

Raoul Vaneigem 


It’s my party and I’ll snub who I want to... 

On the 21st March, 1968 the New York Yippies organised a 
party for 5»000 people. The venue for the party was 
announced as New York City's Grand Central Station. 

Jerry Rubin 


June, 1973 s As a sign of the 'truce' prevailing for the 
Camden Neighbourhood Festival a tug-of-war was organised 
between a team of Squatters and a team of Policemen. The 
Squatters were disqualified and victory was awarded to the 
Police because when the Squatters started losing ground, 
spectators broke through the sidelines and pulled with the 
Squatters. 

IT 


October, 1972: A thirty-man British Army recruiting team set 
up a display of "The Army at Work and Play" on the playing 
field of Lochend School, Lochend Road, Sasterhouse, Glasgow 
and the local youth showed great interest, turning up in 
considerable numbers. A cookhouse erected to dispense 
modern army food ("Forget what your Dad told you about Army 
grubi") was soon smashed to matchwood. Soldiers enjoying 
a peaceful cup of tea in one of the caravans were hurriedly 
evacuated when flames, from the bonfire lit beneath it, 
started to lick through the floor. When the other caravan 
lost its windows the Army decided to pack up and leave. 

Two Land-Rovers drove off, leaving their exhaust systems 
behind: young saboteurs had tied their exhaust silencers 
to nearby trees. 


IT 



In the mid-seventies an organisation known as BESA (The 
Berkshire Extremely Silly Association) publicised a number 
of "Silly Events” to which the public were invited free 
of charge* Those who turned up at the advertised time and 
place would find themselves present at a tree planting or 
similar municipal ceremony. 


Stamps and Banknotes 


The "friendly policeman” stamp 
(right) was said to have been 
withdrawn earlier than planned 
because of the widespread practice 
of adding captions to it. rime Out 
magazine even ran a competition for 
the best example. The winning 
caption was "No, he can’t stay even 
if you do marry him.” (One of the 
children depicted in the stamp was 
black.) Xtra’s favourite was 
"No, I didn’t kill your daddy.” 

In 1 981 "Friends of the Earth” produced a label - addressed 
to 10, Downing Street - for people to stick on empty drink 
cans. The labels carry a message to the Prime Minister on 
the virtues of returnable containers. 

"Friends of the Earth” estimate that a total of 5C,00C cans 
have been sent in this way. However, in April 1981 "Friends 
of the Earth” discovered that the Post Office were 
intercepting the cans before delivery. When asked where the 
cans were being held up the Post Office was unable to 
answer on "security grounds”* 

Peace News 



It is usual for bank staff to remove very worn or defaced 
notes from circulation but in Chile it became a political 
duty* This was due to the Chilean workers habit of writing 
anti-government slogans on their banknotes* In 1973 the 
problem reached epidemic proportions and the government 
was withdrawing banknotes almost as fast as new ones could 
be printed* 


Xtra* 


In 1977 the big banks in Italy printed their own small 
denomination notes in large quantities. Members of the 
Italian Radical Party collected together 100,000 lires worth 
of this ’unofficial’ money which they took to be changed at 
the Credito Italiano bank in Milan* 

The manager fell into the trap and refused to change the 
notes into 'real' money, thus bearing out the Radicals’ 
claim that "The banks rob and the State is accomplice”, 
and precipitating a near riot in which the regular customers 
sided against the bank manager and forced him to comply with 
the demands. The next target of the Radicals is to be a 
catholic bank since, "The banks rob and the Church is 
accomplice”* 

Guardian 


On the 24th August, 1968, Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman and ten 
other Yippies entered the New York Stock Exchange and climbed 
to the visitors gallery overlooking the main hall. 

The Yippies addressed the brokers and traders working below 
them on the evils of money and greed. Most of the brokers 
found the incident amusing and at the end of the speech many 
joined in good natured applause* Then the Yippies reached 
into their pockets and threw into the air handfuls of dollar 
bills. As money floated down like autumn leaves the scene 
changed dramatically. Brokers and traders jumped, pushed and 
buffeted each other to catch the falling banknotes, others 
on hands and knees scrabbled about on the floor grabbing as 
much as they could. The security guards arrived and the 
Yippies were ejected from the building. 


Do it ’ 
Jerry Rubin 


Bulletproof Glass 
Encloses Gallery 
At Stock Exchange 

The New York Stock Ex- 
change last night installed bul- 
| fletproof glass panels and a 
metal grill work ceiling on its 
visitors’ gailery for v/hat an 
exchange spokesman said were 
“reasons cf sccuritv.” 


Work to enclose the 100- 
foot-long gallery, which in 
places hangs directly over the 
desks and telephone booths of 
clerks and brokers, began 
^honly after the close of trad- 
ing at 3:30 P.M. yesterday. The 
job was expected to be com- 
pleted before today’s 10 A M. 
opening bell. 


Last Aug. 24 a dozen or so 
hippies threw dollar bills from 
the gallery — a display man' 
exchange members do not wan: 
to se^ repeated. 


New York 

T late a 



Straight from the horse’s mouth. 


Hugh Gaitskell was at the 
1963 May Day demonstration 
in Queen's Park, Glasgow to 
address the Glasgow Labour 
Movement on the theme of the 
demonstration : "No to 
Polaris!" Gaitskell was 
known to be a supporter of 
American bases on the Clyde 
and as he worked his way 
round to explaining the 
necessity of such bases he 
was interrupted by heckling 
and cat-calls. He said his 
critics were "secret members 



of the Communist Party" and | I’LL cut everybody’s hands off. — Ayatollah 

"tools of Russia" who should l Khomeini - — 

all "go back to Moscow". 

Finally he lost control and started to scream abuse at his 
audience. Facing a crowd of thousands he shouted, "You're 
nothing. You're just peanuts!" Only the police and stewards 
saved him as hundreds rushed forward to storm the platform. 


Stuart Christie 
The Christie File 


In 1975 Gianfranco Sanguinetti - sometime member of the 
Situationist International and accomplice of Guy Debord - 
created a scandal in Italy by publishing a fake anonymous 
report claiming to be a leading member of the ruling class 
and suggesting that the only way to save capitalism from 
the wrath of the workers and others, was to work out a 
common front with the Communist Party. 

This ironic report was widely acclaimed and discussed in 
the press, parliament and amongst leading business figures 
until about nine months later Sanguinetti revealed himself 
and the true nature of the document. 


Re-fuse 


Students at Hamburg University in the late sixties knew that, 
despite so-called 'denazification', many of their professors 
still held Nazi sympathies. During a traditional ceremony in 
November, 1 967, a large group of students stood and scoffed 
and laughed at the participants. Eventually one professor, 
purple with rage, screamed at the students, "You should be 
in a concentration camp!" 


Jerry Rubin .1 970 . 

"Supposing one day trucks travelled through the city 
announcing, "The war in Vietnam is over! The war is over! 
Turn on your radio for further information." Within two 
minutes everybody would be calling their mothers, "Hey, Mom! 
The war's over!" 

Nixon would have to go on T.V. to reassure the American 
people that the war was still on." 


During the May uprising in Paris in 1968 students and young 
workers occupied the Sorbonne and the Odeon and barricaded 
the surrounding streets against the paramilitary CRS. The 
official Communist Party was less than impressed. When the 
slogan "Jsver Work" appeared on the facade of the Sorbonne 
the Communist Party daily newspaper 'L'Humanite' bemoaned the 
defacement of the building and wondered how such views could 
have so easily won over 16,000 students. 

The sorbonne set up an occupation committee and its presses 
flooded Paris with revolutionary posters and leaflets. The 
Odeon was the venue of a non-stop discussion. When the CRS 
used CS gas and riot batons in an attempt to clear the streets 
and occupied buildings the students and young workers fought 
back with cobblestones and petrol bombs. 

The Communist Party General Secretary George Marchais said 
that the activities of the students had no revolutionary 
validity. The students were not members of the Communist 
Party and, Marchais told 'L'Humanite', the Communist Party is 
"the only revolutionary party". 


Correspondent 
and 'L'Humanite 


A POLICY of con- 
tainment in Ulster 
was the “passport to 
failure,” said former 
NATO chief General 
Sir Walter Walker 
when he spoke to the 
Surrey branch of The 
Monday Club, at 
Camberley’s Civic 
Hall on Thursday. 

“The key to success is clear - 
hold and dominate,” he 
declared. 

The general called for a 
“citizen army” equipped with 
miniature neutron bombs the 
size of cricket balls to protect 
Britain from the advance of 
world Communism. 

He said that the bombs 
“miniature battlefield H- 
bombs” - were the most 
powerful deterrent today. 


They could kill by lethal 
gamma rays and not by blast 
and fire. They released-up to 80 
per cent of their total power as 
an intense burst of nuclear 
particles and gamma rays so 
penetrating that they could kill 
soldiers even in heavy tanks. 

Camberley News 
11th Feb.. 1977 



Elections... 


VOTE EARLY. 

VOTE OFTEN. 

Belfast Graffiti 


Shortly before the official launch of the Social Democratic 
Party a meeting was organized to form a branch of the new 
SDP in Kent* The meeting attracted support from all sorts of 
organizations including the ultra-right wing Freedom Assoc- 
iation. Alas, when the good people of Kent arrived at the 
hall they found out the person organizing the meeting was 
"of anarchist persuasion". 


Time Out 


YIPPIEI: THINGS TO DO ON ERECTION DAY 




"i 


1) Vote. Bring some spare underwear with you, preferably that 
of the opposite sex, and fling it over the top of the booth while 
you're voting. 

2) Help others vote. Stand outside the polls silently handing out 
sharpened pencils to voters on their way in. If you feel this is insuffi- 
ciently militant, hand out kitchen matches. It is best to bring along 
both pencils and matches, so your action can shift with your mood. 

3) Get out the vote. Volunteer for Election Day precinct work. 
Cover a precinct for Nixon. Cover the same precinct for Humphrey 
and Wallace. Once they've signed you up for a precinct, they're 
counting on YOU to get the vote out there. You may want to do 
more than one precinct. 

4) Demonstrate. Assemble at 1 pm at Civic Center Plaza. Listen 
to rock bands and smoke marijuana. Then move out over the city 
in at least three big groups: for fun, go to Montgomery Street for 
a giant Monopoly game on the sidewalk; for militancy, go to Presidio 
or Hall of Justice for mock trials and such. After dinner, assemble 

I at Civic Center Plaza again (7:30 pm) to hear speeches, smoke 
more marijuana, and then walk down Market Street to the candidates' 
headquarters to join in the victory celebrations. Pigasus (a pig) will 
gracefully concede. Humphrey headquarters at 11th and Market, 
Nixon headquarters at 1st and Market, both easily recognizable 
by their large plate glass windows. 



and the elected 


Yippie Election Leaflet 

1968 


Representative Tim Moore sponsored a resolution in the Texas 
House of Representatives in Austin, Texas calling on the 
House to commend Albert de Salvo for his unselfish service 
to M his country, his state and his community". 

The resolution stated that f, this compassionate gentleman^ 
dedication and devotion to his work has enabled the weak 
and the lonely throughout the nation to achieve and 
maintain a new degree of concern for their future* He has 
been officially recognized by the state of Massachusetts 
for his noted activities and unconventional techniques 
involving population control and applied psychology* " 

The resolution was passed unanimously* 

Representative Moore then revealed that he had only tabled 
the motion to show how the legislature passes bills and 
resolutions often without reading them or understanding 
what they say* 

Albert de Salvo was the Boston Strangler* 


IT No. 106 


The only safeguard against authority and rigidity 
setting in is a playful attitude... 

Raoul Vaneigem. 


On the street again 


Paris, May, 1968: The first non-university territory to be 
occupied during the revolt was the Theatre de Prance at 
the Odeon. The wardrobe department was raided and dozens 
of demonstrators came out to face the CS gas dressed as 
centurions, pirates and princesses. 


During the 1981 Brixton riots police signalled their 
intention to charge one. group of rioters by beating out a 
frightening 'heartbeat* rhythm by banging their truncheons 
against their riot shields. The rioters responded by 
beating their dustbin lids — in a cha-cha rhythm. 

Sunday Times 


During the march on the Pentagon, Yippie children moved 
among the military police guarding the building, gaily 
unzipping the officers' flies. 

Playpower 


On demonstrations groups of 

demonstrators with cameras and 

tape recorders should surround . 4, boy with purple ha^r 

newspaper and television reporters troi Van and asked for two 

demanding to know why they are [choc ices. 

there, have they been paid to attend, what they expect to 
achieve, etc. Every way they turn they should find cameras 
pointing at them and microphones thrust before them to 
record their every word. 

Ginsberg. 1 966 

1967: Dutch Provos planned to disrupt the wedding of 
Princess Beatrix to ex— Nazi Claus von Amsberg. Leaked Provo 
plans included: "during the Psalms the church organ will 
emit laughing gas" - "hidden loudspeakers will blare forth 
the sound of machine-gun fire - watch the police fire backi" 


- "horses bolt at the smell of lion manure. It can be 
collected from the zoo and strewn along the procession route. 
Oh what fun to see the runaway golden coach, with Beatrix 
and Claus desperately clinging on to one another." 

The massive police presence, enticed by such plans, 
prevented them being put into action. But the Provos didn't 
give up. 

Harry Mulisch wrote in Delta : "Then all at once the 
television picture grew hazier and hazier until the whole 
screen was white... suddenly the carriage with the newly- 
weds emerged from the mist and, when 1 grasped what had 
happened, I was overcome with emotion. Other people, with 
more guts than me, had brought it off, were throwing smoke 
bombs into living rooms all over Europe, the Soviet Union, 
United States, Japan, and were being pursued far along the 
canals and beaten up in doorways by policemen falling over 
each other to get at them. Others were being shoved up 
against railings by mounted police, held tight by reins 
looped around their necks, and kicked senseless by spurred 
riding boots." 

quoted in 

Playpower 


On Hallowe'en Eve, 1968, members of WITCH (Women's Inter- 
national Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell) haunted the New 
York Stock Exchange. The witches, dressed in black fairy- 
tale cloaks, claimed they had an appointment with the Chief 
Executor of Wall Street - Satan himself. Commissionaires 
barred ' ’eir way so they grouped outside the building and 
"with closed eyes and lowered heads the women incanted the 
Berber Yeall - sacred to Algerian witches - and proclaimed 
the coming demise of various stocks. A few hours later 
the xarket closed 1.5 points down, and the following day 
it dropped five points." 

Rat. 1968 
quoted in Playpower 

In I960 a series of demonstrations were held in Japan against 
the renewal of the Japanese-U.S. security treaty. President 
Eisenhower was to make a state visit to promote the pact. 
However, on the night of the 19th, June 300,000 Sohyo (trade 
union) members and 40,000 militants of the Zengakuren 
converged on the Diet (parliament) building in a 'snake dance' 
They then held a mass urination on the main steps of the 


building. The Japanese government was obliged to ask 
Bisenhower to cancel his visit. 

Cockburn & Blackburn 
Student Power 


Paris, May, 1968: Probably the most gruesome protest against 
the Vietnam war was planned by a group of young French 
conspirators: The population of Paris was to rise one 
Sunday morning to find the Seine running blood red and 
dotted with the floating bodies of dead Vietnamese. 

The plan never came to fruition; the bodies were no problem, 
the deep frozen bodies of dead Asians (who would pass for 
Vietnamese) were bought in bulk by the medical school for 
training purposes. They were delivered fairly regularly to 
the school by refrigerated lorry. Hijacking the lorry would 
be no problem; deliveries were made at night and no one 
expected such a load to interest hijackers# 

The problem came with the red dye. No one had predicted 
what a prodigious quantity of dye would be required to colour 
such a volume of water# The quantity required was impossibly 
large and the plan was scrapped# 

Apocryphal 


"Make the fog flee before you" 

Andre Breton 


The Media 

January, 1 982. In response to the French Communist Party 
newspaper L'Humanite ^ Moscow line on Poland, a group in 
Paris produced a fake L'Humanite supplement on the Polish 
crisis# 

This unofficial insert was of the same layout and 
in the same typeface as the original newspaper# Under a 
banner headline of "Smash the counter-revolution in Poland" 
it explained difficult concepts such as "war is peace" and 
"slavery is freedom". A picture of smiling and joking 
Gdansk shipyard workers was captioned "Imperialist agents 
disguised as workers"# 


"After a meeting of the libertarian 
groups in Glasgow, we prepared a 
leaflet explaining the facts behind 
the treatment the Scottish Daily 
Express had given me over the previous 
few weeks, citing other cases of 
heaverbrook skullduggery, showing what 
a bunch of twisters they had as 
reporters. With the assistance of 
some sympathetic printworkers at the 
Express offices in Albion Street, we 
. inserted a copy of our leaflet inside 
, most of the copies of the morning 
edition as it came off the machine to 
* be packed. There were a few red faces 
the following morning when those 
readers opened their papers over their 
porridge and read the truth for once. 

The Express had to print an apology 
the next day for this unwarranted 
exercise of free speech, over which 
the "Guardian" chortled in two columns." 

Stuart Christie 
The Christie File. 


TWO weeks ago, a film crew 
from the prize-winning Amer- 
ican CBS television pro- 
gramme “ Sixty minutes ** 
had the temerity to enter the 
former factory behind Zur- 
ich’s railway station that has 
served as an 41 autonomous 
youth centre ” for the last 
four months. They were 
promptly set on by a gang of 
hooded youths, trussed, and 
covered with paint. 

It emerged later that, so 
far from being spontaneous 
the youths had carefully 
arranged to have a video 
company on hand when they 
set on the intruders. The re- 
sulting film, after some hag- 
gling, was sold to CBS for 
500 Swiss francs, thus ensur- 
ing that the American public 
would see the Zurich youths 
at their most truculent and, 
at the same time, swelling a 
kitty that is helpfng to pay 
off the fines of hundreds of 
youths that have been 
charged in the last 15 
} months of rioting. 

Guardian 

27.8.81 


Shopping 

1968: 

New York: "We'll choose a shop. About twenty of us will go 
in, select the stuff we want, hand the cashier a flower and 
head for the door." 

New York City Yip-pies 

Lower East Side: The Black Mask group staged a mill-in at 
Macy's during the Christmas rush. Demonstrators flooded 
into the store disguised as shoppers, store detectives and 

counter assistants. Stoek was either spoiled, stolen, swapped 
asmu&d or giver, away. Accomplices ensured that respectable 
middle-class shoppers were mistakenly roughed up and 
arrested. 


King Mob Echo. London , 


Londons The King Mob group themselves entered Self ridges 
store in Oxford Street with one of their number dressed as 
Santa Claus. Good old Father Christmas toured the store 
giving away free gifts from the stock on display and 
wishing everyone a merry Christmas. 

Soon afterwards the shoppers were witness to the edifying 
spectacle of policemen arresting Father Christmas and 
snatching back toys from small children. 


In 1964 the San Francisco Diggers opened a Free Shop where 
people brought and took what they wanted. 

For a short time a similar Free Shop existed in London. 

IT 


In 1977, Italy saw the formation of a new kind of consumer 
affairs group; the "Autoriduttori" (a title that translates 
clumsily as the 'autonomous' or 'do-it-yourself ' price- 
cutters.) 

Their activities include printing their own bus and theatre 
tickets and (reduced) electricity bills as well as the mass 
ransacking of supermarkets in order to expropriate the 
surplus on behalf of themselves (as consumers.) 

Open Road 


Toxteth Riots , 1 981 

Many people in Lodge Lane were nervous about entering shops 
that were being looted. Local youngsters helped out by 
bagging up a selection of goods and placing them outside 
on the pavement for collection. 

A man walking down Lodge Lane asked a passer by for a 
cigarette and was given a box of 200. 


Freedom 


Paris , cl 970. An exclusive grocery store was the victim of 
an organised, mass shoplifting raid. Caviare, foie gras, 
truffles and chilled Reisling was then distributed free to 
nearby slum dwellers. 


Apocryphal 


A group of activists received information that the auction 
sale of two houses owned by Kensington and Chelsea Council 
was being rigged - speculators had apparently agreed that 
nobody was going to bid above an agreed figure. On the day 
of the auction six of the group, respectably dressed, turned 
up at Chelsea Town Hall. 

The bidding went to £20,000 — believed to be the agreed top 
figure - then the group started bidding. Some of the 
speculators started bidding against them. Only when the 
figure for one house reached £75,000 did the auctioneer 
suspect something — then their was pandemonium. 

Correspondent 


Trains, Buses & Bicycles 


During General Franco's rule a group 
stopped the Madrid-Barcelona train in a 
rural area and before allowing it to 
continue, covered the outsides of the 
carriages with Anarchist slogans. Thus 
decorated the train arrived at the 
crowded Barcelona station. 

Apocryphal 

On Merseyside, one Spring night in 1976, 
a group of people entered bus depots and 
stuck official - looking notices inside 


Then there is 
another spiffing wheeze cur- 
rently being put to the Tube 
drivers’ union — that the 
drivers simply refuse to stop 
at Westminster and St 
James’s stations. This would 
hurt the MPs, the civil ser- 
vants in the Home Office, and 
Transport Ministry — and 
would make everyone else 
giggle. 

GUARDIAN 

February 15 1982 


the buses. The notices read: "EXPERIMENTAL 


FREE TRAVEL: Due to the sharp rise in administration and 
collection costs the Executive are introducing free bus travel 
for an experimental period of 14 days. No fares will be collect- 
ed on any MPTE services from Monday, 3rd May to Sunday, 16th May 

1976." „ ... 

News Ltd 


1967: Thirty Dutch Provo3 painted their bicycles white and 
announced that they belonged to everyone. People were invited 
to bring their bicycles to the Spui at midnight on Saturday, 
where they would be painted free. 

Urged on by insurance companies and manufacturers the police 
rounded up and confiscated all white bicycles in Amsterdam - 
on the pretext that they might be stolen. 


Playpower 


In 1979 the Montreal City authorities turned down a request for 
a bicycles-only lane on the grounds that it had no funds 
available for the necessary painting of road markings. As a 
protest, a group of cyclists painted - overnight - their own 
cycle lane on 1*Jr miles of street. The city hired a contractor 
to paint over the unofficial paintwork. 

Open Road 


Workers’ Playtime 


During the prolongued strike at Grunwick's, strike-breakers 
were moved in to undertake the mainly mail-order film 
processing work. In support of the strikers, local postal 
workers attempted to suspend deliveries to the factory but, 
after a short time, their efforts were defeated by legal 
manoeuvres. 

Three months later, postal workers in Sydney, Australia were 
surprised to find many sacks of mail - recently unloaded from 
a mail ship - contained packets for a firm called Grunwick in 
London. 

Apocryphal 


July, 1968s Lisbon bus and train workers were protesting because 
the British-owned Lisbon Tramways Company would not give them a 
wage rise. They protested by running the services as normal but 
staff refused to accept fares. This new kind of transport 
strike proved very popular with passengers. 


The Times 


New York City IWW Restaurant workers won some of their demands 
- after a failed strike - by giving customers double portions 
and making errors (on the low side) when making up bills. 

I.V.V. 


Detroit,! 968: Inspectors at a car factory relieved boredom 
by taking their jobs absolutely seriously. They began rejecting 
something like three out of every four or five cars under 
examination. Some cars were rejected simply because tfcey failed 
to turn over quietly enough. Management tried to drop hints 
about inspectors being too punctilious (but were naturally 
reluctant to state this openly). The inspectors ignored the 
hints. Unfailingly they argued back that their interests and 
the company's were identical and thus they had a duty to ensure 
that only products of the finest quality left their factory. 


Ratgeb 


New York 

Thousands of office employees 
were forced to leave their buildings 
yesterday as police, plagued by 
more than 200 bomb threats since a 
weekend explosion at Kennedy 
International Airport, stepped up 
their search for explosive devices 
in the New York metropolitan area. 

A New York Police Depart- 
ment spokesman said that although 
no bombs were found yesterday, 


the threats, many of them appar- 
ently made to lengthen lunch 
breaks, continued to pour into 
police headquarters. 

“The number of calls yesterday 
and the number today goes up 
around noon, and if people leave 
early, we seem to get calls from 
neighboring buildings.” the spokes- 
man. 


Stm Francisco (Ojroniclr * Wed., May 20, 1 98 1 


Mr. Luigi Angeli, a factory worker from Riva del Garda, has 
been given a medical certificate which prescribes total rest 
until the year 2030, when he will be 99 years old. During his 
national television interview. Dr. Mario Rizzonelli, who wrote 
and signed the certificate, said: "Mr. Angeli can live a normal 
life but he must not return to work under any circumstances 
whatsoever. He is a very sick man." Asked to describe the 
nature of Mr. Angeli f s sickness. Dr. Rizzonelli said: " I am 
prepared to discuss the subject with the President of Italy or 
the chief inspector of Social Security. But I am not willing 
to have my recommendation of half a century of absolute repose 

questioned in publie." national Press & 

Private Eye 


"This could be our last chance 
to unmake history." 

Raoul Vaneiqem 



Afterword 

The idea of a foreword to this pamphlet was dropped fairly 
early on. However, after collecting and sifting so many items 
and writing and talking to contributors, friends and comrades 
it became clear that some sort of statement was necessary. 

Humour has always played an important part in social education 
-not always for the good. Sexist and racist jokes reinforce 
stereotypes and keep us apart. Whose propaganda war benefits 
if the stereotype Irishman is ’'thick' 1 and always ready for 
a fight? 

On the other hand the most powerful symbols and advertisements 
can be totally deflated and demystified by someone with a bit 
of intelligence and a spray-can or felt-tip marker. (As a 
bonus the new message carries with it all the impact and 
presentation the medianiks worked so hard to put into the 
original^ ) 

Dangerous trends in popular humour are soon recuperated; 
television political satire which scandalized the establishment 
twenty years ago is now presented at peak viewing time as 
satirical comedy . It may make us laugh, but it rarely does 
more than encourage our cynicism - as Shakespeare observed, 
"There is no harm in an allowed Fool". Revolutionary buffoonery 
must attempt to jolt people out of customary ways of thinking 
and behaving. 

Such pranks have nothing to do with practical jokes. Too often 
practical jokes are played by the confident and cunning on 
the helpful and guiless. The message of practical jokes is 
that we should not be trustful of others, nor be too eager 
to be of assistance - a profoundly reactionary message. 

Revolutionary buffoonery tries to build confidence, not 
cynicism; it tries to demystify, not alienate. But most of 
all it brings play back into everyday life. 

It has always been the aim of jesters, by playing the Fool 
themselves, to expose the real fools. 

Larry Law 


Compiled and edited by Larry Law. 

Production by Liz. 

Thanks for contributions to Mike, Nick and •Vincennes'. 
Printed by Presto Print, Reading. 

Published by Spectacular Times, Box 99 » Freedom Press, 
84b, Whitechapel High Street, London, El 7QX.